What do we see instead? Employing the same Cast of Clowns who have already failed repeatedly to remain in charge of executing "the plan" -- expecting that this time the Clowns will perform admirably. Employing the same Cast of Clowns to repeat a failed strategy that is universally understood to be the precise opposite of what they should be doing.

Alternate definition of insanity: Expecting the same people who screwed things up originally to "fix" their mistakes ... by continuing to make the same mistakes.

In mathematical terms, we are now at "insanity squared": repeating a failed plan, with the same group of failures put in charge of repeating the failure. But it gets much worse than this still -- as is always the case with any multiplication function.

Let me introduce you to the exponential curve.

Readers are generally familiar with "linear" functions (or charts): These are mathematical progressions where the rate of change remains relatively constant. Conversely, only those with a background in mathematics are generally conversant with exponential functions.

This is a mathematical function that doesn't merely accelerate over time, but where the rate of acceleration itself continues to accelerate. Exponential curves are the mathematical representation of the concept of "unsustainability." Put more bluntly, all exponential curves end in disaster, and there can never be an exception to this.

Examples will quickly illustrate this point. In the animal kingdom, when any animal population begins an exponential decline, it is 100% certain that it will become an "endangered species" in the near future. From that point (and despite our best efforts) it is nearly 100% certain that the species will become completely extinct.

Lest anyone suffer from the delusion that only downward-pointing exponential curves lead to disaster, what happens on the rare occasions when animal populations experience an exponential growth? Massive over-population. Rapid destruction of the entire food supply. Followed by mass-starvation.

Want an example of an exponential curve in the world of human commerce? Can anyone say "bubble"? Bubbles generally feature two exponential trends: Exponential increase in prices and exponential increase in the level of ownership of that asset. Can anyone provide an example of a bubble that ended well?